Top Pokemon Cards in Guardians Rising

Aaron Clarke
May 18, 2017

When Sun and Moon brought GX Pokémon into the TCG, it radically changed the meta. Cards like Decidueye GX and Lapras GX created new decks that are top tier, and now Guardians Rising Pokémon seek to do the same.Lets take a look at some of the game changers from Guardians Rising. 


Tapu Lele GX

       This card is easily the most notable card to come out of this set. After Shaymin EX rotates, Tapu Lele GX will be the best support Pokémon. The Supporter search effect was proven to be strong when Jirachi EX was in standard, an EX that was played with half the HP of Tapu Lele GX and no viable attack. Tapu Lele GX’s attack is another copy of the infamous X Ball, which is played in both Standard and Expanded on Lugia EX. Fusing these two pieces makes a card that is immediately playable.

        There is no deck that cannot play Tapu Lele GX. For the most part, it has no type. It has no Weakness, and its main attack requires only a Double Colorless Energy. This attack also can’t hit for Weakness or Resistance, meaning Tapu Lele GX’s type is irrelevant for damage consideratons. Tapu Lele GX’s type only matters for effects like Dimension Valley, and for its GX attack.

        Tapu Lele GX comes with a GX attack for just one Psychic energy. With that cost, the GX attack could do almost anything and still be playable. Currently, there is no good Psychic GX Pokémon, which has led Mewtwo to play an Espeon GX, with the sole purpose of countering other Mewtwo decks. Psychic decks are also getting a big boost from Garbodor this set, further increasing the value of a good GX attack.

        Tapu Lele GX’s Supporter searching Ability could not come at a better time. Vileplume is quite popular, and only gains strength from this set. Once the player finds Tapu Lele GX, it can be easily dropped to search for a Hex Maniac, which turns off Vileplume for a turn. Looking ahead to a post-rotation meta, the lack of VS Seeker further increases the value of being able to search for a specific Supporter. Tapu Lele GX is the most hyped, and likely most powerful card from this set, for good reason.


        Garbodor has also caused a lot of discussion, and will see a lot of play immediately after the set comes out. For just one energy, an attack that deals 20 damage for each Item in the opposing player’s discard is incredibly strong. In the Sun and Moon meta, an average turn one plays easily 6 Items, in a combination of Ultra Balls, Max Elixirs, VS Seekers, and tools. That means that already Garbodor can deal 120 damage for one energy. That can two hit any Pokémon, and scales even more absurdly late. This combos with Field Blower and Crushing Hammer to build up more items, and force the opponent to keep drawing.

         But there seems to be a simple solution. Just don’t use any Items, and Garbodor does zero damage a turn. Easy win, right? That is where the backup comes in. Like every other deck, Garbodor is going to play Tapu Lele GX, which hits harder than a player who doesn’t play Items can. On top of that, the new Grass Trevenant deals damage based on the number of items in your opponent’s hand, for just a Double Colorless. (On a side note, the Grass Phantump means that the old Trevenant can take advantage of Forest of Giant Plants.) This makes Items unsafe in any position, and is much harder to play around.

         Garbodor can also slide into Mewtwo decks. These decks already play the Garbotoxin Garbodor, and adding a few more Garbodors of this variation is no problem. It also gives Mewtwo a one prize attacker, something the deck has lacked.


No matter which incarnation it is in, Sableye has caused trouble for the game. This time, it locks Supporters for a turn. This card has the potential to increase the viability of Decidueye/Vileplume, giving the deck another way to control the opponent. It combos with Vileplume to shut down both Items and Supporters. Removing Supporters from play alleviates the threat of Vileplume getting targeted with Lysandre, and prevents Hex Maniac from being played. Sableye also removes the one threat to itself: Pokémon Ranger. Without that card, there is no way to remove the lock, aside from killing Sableye. While the opponent can only play Pokémon and Energies, Decidueye GX snipes for 20 each every turn, bringing them to a slow, painful death.



This is finally a shuffle and draw Supporter that only impacts one player. Since Professor Oak’s New Theory has left format, N has been the best substitute. While N is still indisputably powerful, Hala allows the player to just shuffle their own hand in. If the GX attack goes off early, Hala becomes better in almost every way than Professor Sycamore, and could finally be a new, good draw Supporter.

Choice Band

Since its release, Fighting Fury Belt has been almost unchallenged as a Tool card. Now, Choice Band provides pure damage, but at the cost of the HP that Fighting Fury Belt offered. The main difference is that there are no restrictions on Choice Band, meaning it can go on any Pokémon, and provides power to Stage One decks like Garbodor.

Field Blower – In every way better than the famed Tool Scrapper, Field Blower is the tool removal Standard has been waiting for. It provides more behind the scenes usefulness than the other Guardians Rising Trainers, and it is currently the only Tool removal in Standard. Field Blower provides an answer to Garbodor, while simultaneously removing Fighting Fury Belts and EXP Shares, making KOs safer and easier.

Aqua Patch

Aqua Patch’s predecessor Dark Patch was able to make Dark decks relevant for years, and still has an impact on Expanded. Aqua Patch comes at a time when the help could make Water powerful again. Lapras GX has clung to the edges of the meta, but this boost could bring it to the forefront. At the same time, Alolan Ninetales GX is a very simple card that can hit hard, and desperately needs the energy acceleration.

Honorable Mentions

Turtonator GX

The newest Fire GX gives Volcanion decks energy acceleration, as well as a wall. In the Sun and Moon format, Volcanion struggled to find a GX attack. Now, Turtonator GX gives turn one energy acceleration when paired with Steam Up. Using a GX attack turn one means that for the rest of the game, Hala will keep its empowered effect. Steam Up also works well with its first attack, providing quick damage as well as a counterattack when Turtonator GX gets damaged.

Sylveon GX

Energy Evolution Eevee gets another useful evolution, but this time it is Fairy. On turn one, an Eevee in play can Energy Evolve into a Sylveon GX, then use Magical Ribbon to search for any three cards. Unfortunately, there are no current decks that can benefit from a Fairy attacker, since none of them run Fairy energy. Also, N neutralizes the effect of this attack, making it a waste of a turn. This attack could easily find usefulness in a future meta, especially once N rotates, but for now it isn’t strong enough.


        Guardians Rising provides quite a few initially powerful cards, and even more with potential. Nearly all of the GXs in this set could be viable, or just need one little boost from a future card. The high quality of the cards makes opening packs more fulfilling, since most Ultra Rares have value. Overall, this set manages to recapture the excitement of the original Sun and Moon. Continuing this trend in Burning Shadows and beyond would be a huge step forward for the Pokémon TCG.